A STUDY ON CONTRASTS SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DEVELOPMENT OF AIRPOWER AND SPACE POWER

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1 AU/ACSC/100/ AIR COMMAND AND STAFF COLLEGE AIR UNIVERSITY A STUDY ON CONTRASTS SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES BETWEEN DEVELOPMENT OF AIRPOWER AND SPACE POWER by Scott E. Gilson, Major, USAF A Research Report Submitted to the Faculty In Partial Fulfillment of the Graduation Requirements Advisor: Lieutenant Colonel Theresa R. Clark Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama April 1998

2 Disclaimer The views expressed in this academic research paper are those of the author and do not reflect the official policy or position of the US government or the Department of Defense. In accordance with Air Force Instruction , it is not copyrighted, but is the property of the United States government. ii

3 Contents Page DISCLAIMER... ii LIST OF TABLES... iv PREFACE... v ABSTRACT... vii INTRODUCTION... 1 APPLICATIONS... 5 The Advent of Airpower... 5 The Rise of Space Power... 6 The Difference... 7 THEORY The Potential of Airpower The Beginnings of Space Power Theory The Difference DOCTRINE In Pursuit of Airpower Doctrine How to Develop Doctrine The Need for Space Power Doctrine RESOURCE ALLOCATION Airpower Funding Space Power Funding CONCLUSION BIBLIOGRAPHY iii

4 Tables Page Table 1. U.S. Army Air Corps Funding Table 2. U.S. Army Air Corps Research and Experimental Funding Table 3. USAF Space Funding Table 4. USAF Space Research and Development Funding Table 5. USAF Top Twenty Procurement Programs for ($B) iv

5 Preface With the dissolving of the Cold War and the development of theater-level support capabilities during and since the Gulf War, space power has taken on new meaning and significance within today s Air Force. As early airpower grew, commercially and militarily, so too has space power. Just as airpower proved invaluable to allied success in World War II, and subsequent conflicts, space power has proven itself indispensable to military success. But, as America s military has developed a growing dependency on space power, is it positioned to successfully foster the continued growth of space power, and the capabilities space assets offer, should that dependency become threatened? This paper examines contrasts between the development of early airpower within the Army Air Corps, and development of space power within the Air Force, by examining similarities and differences in military applications, theoretical assertions, doctrinal concepts, and resource allocation associated with the advancement of each technology. This project began to take shape several years ago during my initial indoctrination into space operations. As a Flight Commander in the 50 th Space Wing, I met brilliant people who would enlighten me on the use of space today, and how it could revolutionize the military of the future. Two individuals had a particularly strong impact and stand out more than the others. The first was my Squadron Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Hoops Hoapili, who instilled in us the notion that space operators are indeed warfighters, not unlike our aviation brethren, and who drove us to institutionalize within v

6 ourselves an operational mentality. The other individual is Colonel Pete Worden, then Commander of the 50 th Space Wing, who during many late night discussions during my crew s shift rotation, would enlighten us on the future role that space was destined to play in our military. Not only is he a true space visionary, he also made it clear that we, as junior officers, were at the prime point in our careers to make a difference in the development and advancement of space power. As I began my year of academia in the study of military history, and the contributions of airpower and space power, it became clear that there are striking similarities between the dawn of airpower and our present position in the development of space power. Being surrounded by the history of Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, where our Air Force fathers so earnestly devoted their careers to the advancement of the potential of airpower, made me realize the same opportunity exists for the advancing breed of space operators with their visions for space power. Today s space advocates in the Air Force have the example of early airpower development to assist them in blazing a pathway for the continued development and advancement of space power. Throughout this effort, I received invaluable support and encouragement from Lieutenant Colonel Theresa Clark, my research advisor, who also served as my mentor and friend, and kept this project focused. I also wish to thank my Air Force Space Command sponsor, Lieutenant General Lance Lord, for his wisdom and sound advice. Finally, I thank my children, Sarah, Rachel, and Benjamin, and my wife Cathy for their love, encouragement, and unending support this entire year. vi

7 AU/ACSC/100/ Abstract Space applications for military operations began in earnest in the late 1950 s, but it wasn t until the Gulf War of 1991 that space power came to the forefront of the military mindset. While early airpower and current space power share similar foundations, and a common vision as to future applications, only airpower advanced to a combatant role, while space remains mired in a supporting role. Is the Air Force as committed to the continued growth and advancement of space power as the Army Air Corps was to the development and advancement of early airpower? This study examines similarities and differences between development of early airpower in the Army Air Corps, and development of space power within the Air Force, as America becomes increasingly reliant on space assets and capabilities. In order to determine if the Air Force is poised to continue the growth and development of space power, this paper will review basic applications of the two technologies, depicting their roles in support of military operations. For airpower, the study focuses on the airplane s role during World War I and the turmoil its advocates faced in the post-war environment. For space, it will briefly discuss how the medium was used during the Cold War, but focus predominantly on the post Gulf War timeframe, especially in light of the growing operational advantages it provides the military. The paper then examines theoretical assertions regarding the relevance of airpower as discussed by Douhet, Mitchell and the Air Corps Tactical School between the two World Wars, and the contrast (if any) offered vii

8 by the present lack of accepted, and functional, space power theory following the Gulf War. Next is a comparison of doctrinal development as it pertains to early support for airpower, and the present state of space power. Doctrine provided early airpower advocates justification and validity for pursuing a technology not yet developed, leadturning the future via their doctrinal concepts. Conversely, space power has largely operated without a doctrinal foundation outside inclusion as an inherent piece of airpower, or aerospace, doctrine. Space power received resources under nuclear deterrence strategy and its inherent position within airpower (or aerospace) doctrine and, therefore, did not need to pursue independent theory and doctrine to justify and validate its existence, or contribution, until now. The final focus of this study looks at the institutional commitment of resources, for both early airpower and space power, to determine whether or not Air Force advocacy for the continued development of space power is as strong as Army Air Corps advocacy was during the dawn of airpower. There is no financial data available to show a direct percentile correlation between overall U.S. Army budgets and that piece associated with the Army Air Corps. Instead, this study will examine Army Air Corps budgets from and compare that to Air Force space budgets in the post Cold War timeframe to determine the level of resource commitment on the part of the institution. Interestingly, many of today s military leaders and experts argue that space power is not receiving its just due following the Gulf War. 1 However, when compared to airpower s early struggles, space power is not as neglected as some would like to believe. Early airpower advocates used their perceived lack of institutional support as a catalyst to develop theory and doctrinal concepts, in hopes of demonstrating airpower s importance viii

9 and swaying increased institutional support in its favor. Meanwhile, space power has received institutional support in the form of consistent, if not increasing funding and senior-level commitment in spite of having no theoretical or doctrinal foundation. This study will examine the role of theory, doctrine, and resource allocation, in development of both early airpower and space power, to determine if the Air Force is poised to meet the challenging demands of furthering the continued growth of space power. Notes 1 John A. Tirpak, The Rise of Space, Air Force Magazine, August 1997, 53. General Estes, Commander of U.S. Space Command stated, Within the USAF you find those that think all this talk about space is interesting but a little bit irrelevant because they re dealing with real systems and problems today ; General Howell M. Estes, III, The Air Force at a Crossroad, Address to Air Force Association Symposium on National Security, Los Angeles, CA, 14 November General Estes stated, We must devote more Air Force science and technology dollars to key space enabling technologies devote more Air Force dollars to support new satellite program starts, devote more Air Force dollars to building new communications infrastructures connecting all of our forces via space. But this potential will never be realized unless we begin as an Air Force to change our culture to fully accept the responsibility for the role of space and its importance to the future national security interests of our country. This has been a problem in the past, we have never really embraced space in the Air Force ; James A. Abrahamson, et al., to President, United States of America, Subject: Open Letter to the President (space threats and capabilities), 15 January In this letter to President Clinton, over forty retired general and flag rank military officers expressed their concern over the administration s lack of support for the advancement of space, especially a robust space control capability, aimed at protecting and defending America s growing military and commercial reliance on space systems; Carl Builder to Lieutenant Colonel Tom Clark, Air War College, electronic mail, subject: Air Force Advocacy for Space, 24 February Builder, a noted expert on Air Force policy and issues with RAND stated, I think the Air Force is mortgaging its own future by the way it approaches space. It is paying the subject a lot of lip service right now too many folks (like General Moorman and me) have been warning the leadership that they will reap the whirlwind if they don t pay attention to space (and information systems) with the same zeal they now give to airplanes. The deeds, so far, don t reflect a deep commitment, and I don t think that will change easily or soon. ix

10 Chapter 1 Introduction As oil was the fuel of the industrial age, space will be the fuel and engine of the information age. General Howell M. Estes, 3 rd Commander, United States Space Command Military use of space began in earnest in the 1950 s under the cloak of the nuclear umbrella for the purpose of strengthening national security. President Dwight D. Eisenhower launched America s space program following the Soviet success of Sputnik I, on October 4, He stated, space objectives relating to defense are those to which the highest priority attaches because they bear on our immediate safety. 1 Space assets, during their formative years, were employed under the auspices of nuclear strategy and airpower doctrine and performed the missions of surveillance, reconnaissance, communications, and early warning of ballistic missile attack. This strategic support role was vital to the safety and security of America s citizens, institutional foundations, and territorial integrity. As the use of space assets became more openly involved in military operations during the Gulf War of 1991, it became readily apparent that the role advanced space systems could play in theater support to the warfighters challenged the overarching stigma that space was a strategic asset only. 2 It was this conversion from a predominantly strategic role to that of theater warfighter support that elevated space capabilities to the forefront of the military leadership s 1

11 mindset and provoked the on-going controversy of how to best use space power in future scenarios. As it did in the Cold War, space power will continue to play a critical role in the future. This is true for two reasons. First, the military reliance on space-based capabilities for strategic and theater-level support makes space power crucial to successful military operations and second, the burgeoning economic investment from both civil and commercial enterprises places inherent responsibility on the military space community to protect and defend these vital national interests. 3 Eisenhower s vision about the role space would play in the defense of the nation proved to be prophetic. The growing economic and military investment in space continues to bear on national security and weighs heavily on the United States ability to execute its current national security objectives of enhancing security, promoting democracy abroad, and bolstering America s economic prosperity. 4 How to protect America s economic growth in space and the military advantage it provides over any potential adversary is the key dilemma facing leadership today. Is a theoretical and doctrinal roadmap being developed, and are enough resources being committed, to ensure a credible capability within the Air Force to continue pursuing the development and advancement of space power, aimed at defending and protecting America s ever-growing reliance and dependency on space systems, both military and commercial? This study examines the differences between Army Air Corps development of early airpower and Air Force development of space power by reviewing the four key areas of military applications, theoretical assertions, doctrinal concepts, and resources committed for each technology. This entails a review of basic applications of early air and current 2

12 space technologies, depicting their role(s) in support of military operations. This encompasses reviewing airpower as it was used during World War I. The paper briefly examines space capabilities during the Cold War. However, the predominant focus is on how the Air Force has embraced the operational advantages of space since the Gulf War, as it seeks to evolve from an Air Force, to an Air and Space Force, and finally to a Space and Air Force. 5 The study will then look at theoretical dissertations on the relevance of airpower and how it was envisioned as a military mechanism during and following the First World War, and contrast that to the current lack of accepted, and functional, space power theory. This is followed by a synopsis of how doctrine evolved in support of airpower, providing the justification and validity needed to pursue a technology not yet developed, lead-turning the future via doctrine. Conversely, space power has largely operated without an independent doctrine, using the Cold War as its catalyst and foundation. Space power received resources under the nuclear deterrence strategy and did not need to pursue independent theory and doctrine to justify and validate its existence, or contribution, until now. The final test to determine if the Air Force is positioned to continue fostering development and advancement of space power is found in the commitment of resources. There is no financial data available to show a direct percentile correlation between overall U.S. Army budgets and that piece associated with just the Army Air Corps. Instead, this study will examine historical Army Air Corps budgets ( ), retrieved from the Air Force Historical Research Agency. These figures are compared to Air Force space budgets, from the Reagan Administration defense buildup through projections for the year 2003, to determine the level of resource commitment on the part of the institution. 3

13 Notes 1 United States Space Command, 1997, n.p.;on-line, Internet, 9 November 1997, available from 2 Ibid. 3 Milspace Maturing Into Warfighter Roles, Aviation Week and Space Technology, 1 September 1997, 47. General Estes, CINC USSPACECOM stated, there is such an economic investment in space that it will soon be a vital national interest, and certainly an economic center of gravity, for the U.S. ; The Rise of Space, Air Force Magazine, August 1997, 53. Here General Estes stated, A tremendous amount of our economic strength is migrating to space. Within a decade, government agencies and private concerns are going to put 1800 satellites into orbit, valued at a trillion dollars or more. Dependence on these satellites will be akin to US dependence on foreign oil and will represent a target too tempting to an enemy. We as a nation are going to protect the investment. One of the main reasons for having a military is to make sure that economic investment survives. 4 President, National Security Strategy, 1996, i. 5 Department of the Air Force, Global Engagement: A Vision for the 21 st Century Air Force, 1996, 7. 4

14 Chapter 2 Applications Just as armies were developed to protect landlines of communication, navies to protect sea lines, and air forces to protect air routes, the same thing is going to happen in space. There are going to be threats to our national security as we put things in space and we may find the only way to protect ourselves the best way to protect ourselves is to go to space to do it. General Howell M. Estes, III To determine if the Air Force is as prepared to foster the evolution and growth of space power, as the Army Air Corps was to the advancement and development of early airpower, this paper first examines similarities in the way each technology was applied in support of military operations. The Advent of Airpower The airplane s military history began over the battlefields of Europe during World War I. This was the first real test, on a grand scale, of the airplane in support of military operations. B. H. Liddell Hart, in his book titled The Real War, , stated that aircraft formed a thread running through and vitally influencing the whole course of operations, rather than a separate strategic feature. 1 He further surmises that appreciation of military applications of airpower was a slow process and early airpower advocates had an uphill struggle for recognition. Liddell Hart refers to the preponderance 5

15 of military thought regarding the airplane when he quotes General Foch prior to the war, who said, for the army the aeroplane is worthless. 2 In the early stages of the war, airplanes were relegated to the mission of visual reconnaissance but no provision for air combat or bombardment was made. Allied aircraft proved invaluable on several occasions at rendering German maneuvers futile. 3 Slowly the role of airpower grew to include observation of artillery targets, communications via colored lights and wireless telegraphy, and aerial photography. Airplanes were also used for battlefield situational awareness, whereby commanders were informed of the situation of their own infantry during the course of battle, and of threatened counter-attacks by the enemy. This is the first instance of aerial assets being used in rudimentary semblance of command and control functions. The Rise of Space Power Similar to early airpower, spacecraft performed the same mission from orbital platforms. 4 Space was first used for observation during the Cold War to gain intelligence on Soviet ballistic missile capabilities. These missions were expanded and improved during the space race of the s, providing support to military operations in the form of intelligence, communications, navigation, ballistic missile early warning, and weather. Just as airpower s vast potential was not immediately recognized, neither was that of early space power. Liddell Hart s assessment of airpower intertwining itself throughout all facets of military operations during World War I is in step with the application of space power during the Gulf War, which found space technologies and capabilities intrinsically and synergistically applied across all coalition operations. The Gulf War, 6

16 writes Colonel Alan Campen, former director of Command and Control Policy at the Pentagon, is the first instance where combat forces largely were deployed, sustained, commanded, and controlled through satellite communications. 5 This strong theater support role served as the catalyst that brought space out from under the nuclear strategy umbrella and into the forefront of military designs regarding the battlefield of the future. The Difference Although strikingly similar in the way each technology was used during military operations, there is one key difference. Airpower was relegated to the supporting roles of observation and signal only until those missions became so valuable as to convince the military leadership of the need to provide aerial combat support. The defining moment for the future role of airpower came when, in an attempt to thwart each other s aerial support capabilities, each side began resorting to air fighting, first with pistols and rifles, and later with mounted machine guns. The fight for air supremacy had begun. Decades later, airpower advocates still pursue the ultimate airplane, capable of achieving and maintaining air supremacy through technological advancements aimed at flying higher, faster, farther, and with more kill capability than any potential adversary can muster in exchange. Critical to understanding the underlying difference between airpower and space power is the fact that the airplane began as a combat support mechanism and, due to the necessity of the information it provided to battlefield awareness, evolved to a combatant platform itself. For the same reason that the airplane, and the information it could provide, required self-defending armaments, some of today s leaders argue that space must be given the same considerations. 6 The rush to protect America s space assets and 7

17 capabilities, across military, civil and commercial systems, has become a topic of seniorlevel discussion since the Gulf War. The ability to defend America s space interests is termed space control, which means protecting one s own satellites and ensuring access to space while denying a potential adversary the same capability. This mission should not be taken lightly. Eliot A. Cohen writes in the Gulf War we faced no attempts to blind or disable our satellites. It is now clear that in the future the first thing any regional power involved in conflict with the United States will do is try to scratch out its eyes in the sky. Ironically, because the United States is the most dependent on its space-based assets it is also the most vulnerable to any adversary who can successfully disable or sabotage them. 7 This is precisely why, in April 1993, USAF Chief of Staff General McPeak, during testimony before Congress, declared we simply must find a way to get on with the construction of capabilities aimed at ensuring that no nation can deny us our hard-won space superiority. He argued that we would need a toolbox of capabilities, to include antisatellite technologies. 8 Numerous retired senior military leaders, in an impassioned plea to the President, agree with the need to enhance America s space control capability. 9 The approach the Air Force has chosen, while emphasizing the need for space control, has not directly challenged any of the administration s overall desires against the weaponization of space. Instead, it suggests accomplishing space control via a posture of space defense or space protection, by negating and destroying an adversary s terrestrial targets rather than challenging them directly in, from, or through the space medium. Early U.S. Army Air Corps advocates encapsulated their combative notions of airpower through the theories of Giulio Douhet, Hugh Trenchard, and Billy Mitchell, by 8

18 struggling through development of their own comprehensive theory at the Air Corps Tactical School. Research indicates that without an increased commitment of resources, the theoretical assertion regarding the potential of airpower was the only way to keep their vision alive. Similarly, today s Air Force leadership has struggled with developing, testing, proving, and accepting a theory with respect to space power. However, whereas airpower advocates used theory to fill the void of limited resources, space power has received a steady allocation of resources while void of space power theory. Are resources alone enough to ensure success in defending America s military and economic interests in space? Without a comprehensive space power theory, the roadmap for the continued growth of space power, and the manner in which it will be employed in defense and protection of America s growing space interests, remains uncertain. Notes 1 Captain B. H. Liddell Hart, The Real War (Boston, MA.: Little, Brown and Company), 1964: Ibid. 3 Ibid, General Howell M. Estes III, Space: Fourth Medium of Military Operations, Defense Issues 11, no. 98 (1996): 1-3. According to General Estes, if we examine the evolutionary development of the aircraft, we see uncanny parallels to the current evolution of spacecraft. 5 Alvin and Heidi Toffler, War and Anti-War (Boston, MA: Little, Brown and Company, 1993), 98. Sir Peter Anson and Dennis Cummings of Matra Marconi Space UK Ltd., in Britain, also state, Space added a fourth dimension to the war. It influenced the general direction of the conflict and saved lives. Space provided detailed images of Iraqi forces and the damage inflicted by allied air attacks. It gave early warning of Scud missile launches. Space provided a navigation system of stunning accuracy that touched upon the performance of every combat soldier, and on missiles, tanks, aircraft, and ships. Satellites identified targets, helped ground troops avoid sandstorms, and measured soil moisture, telling Schwarzkopf, the allied commander, precisely what parts of the desert could support tank movements. 6 General Howell M. Estes III, Space: Fourth Medium of Military Operations, Defense Issues 11, no. 98 (1996): 1-3. General Estes stated, What began as a means of supporting military operations from orbital platforms has now taken on such importance to national security that full protection capability of our space assets is 9

19 Notes beginning to take shape, for military information and battlespace dominance, as well as for protection of national economic interests in space. 7 Toffler, Ibid. 9 James A. Abrahamson, et al., to President, United States of America, subject: Open Letter to the President (space threats and capabilities), 15 January This blue ribbon commission sought to address what it considered to be the greatest danger: an unwillingness or an inability to change our security posture in time to meet the challenges of the next century. We are deeply concerned about your recent line-item veto of three technology development programs that will bear directly upon our military s future ability to exercise control of space in wartime. The Clementine II, Kinetic-Kill Anti- Satellite and Military Spaceplane programs are the technological seed corn for such crucial capabilities as space-based missile defense, neutralizing enemy satellites, and having prompt, reliable, and inexpensive access to and use of space. In our judgement, these are missions the United States military must be prepared to perform. 10

20 Chapter 3 Theory Unrestricted use of space has become a major strategic interest of the United States. The next twenty years will see a dramatic expansion of space operations for a variety of purposes. We are in an era similar to the early development of aviation, in that breathtaking opportunities are there for those who can envision the possibilities and who possess the skills and determination to act upon them. National Defense Panel, December 1997 The dawn of airpower launched theories on existing and future applications of airpower and took visionary leaps forward in discussing technologies and capabilities that would be needed in support of the aviation mechanism of warfare. While early airpower and space power display remarkable similarities when comparing their integration to military operations, there continues to be no relative, widely accepted theory for space power. Space power has operated devoid of theory for nearly forty years, reaching its current operational capability under the nuclear deterrence strategy. Now, as the Air Force strives to incorporate space power more fully across military operations in the next century, development of a space power theory has become increasingly important. This chapter will examine the importance of theory in the evolution of airpower and review the implications that a lack of comprehensive theory has on the development and advancement of space power. 11

21 The Potential of Airpower During World War I there was little thought given to the development of airpower theory or doctrine, since the primary role of the aircraft was in observation and signal, and eventually as an extension of the land-based artillery arm. 1 After the war, Italian General Giulio Douhet was the first to establish a premise for the potential employment of airpower. He suggested it could be used in a manner that would overwhelm an enemy by striking at key industries and population centers (via the battleplane ) as a means of removing the enemy s civilian support and will to fight. 2 His theory became the foundation upon which early American airpower developed. American General William Billy Mitchell took Douhet s idea a step further. He developed a concept of pursuit and attack aircraft, used in concert with bombardment aircraft, for the purpose of attacking an enemy s vital centers for sustaining military operations. Pursuit aircraft would be used for bomber fleet defense and for negating enemy aircraft as they prepared to attack. Attack planes would be used to disperse and destroy enemy troop concentrations on the ground. Bomber aircraft would attack the vital military production and sustainment centers with the intent of destroying the enemy s ability to fight. 3 The Army Air Corps incorporated Mitchell s theory in World War II to successfully defeat the German Luftwaffe. These theories were taken by faculty and students at the Air Corps Tactical School (ACTS) and expanded upon to create the industrial web theory. This theory aimed at attacking an enemy s key industrial centers to eliminate their ability to support continued military operations and to remove the ability to manufacture and develop products and provisions needed to sustain the lives of citizens in a highly industrialized society. 4 12

22 Douhet said, victory smiles upon those who anticipate the changes in the character of war, not upon those who wait to adapt themselves after the changes occur. 5 The ACTS enthusiasts readily adopted his concepts, due in large part to the fact that his theory was the only carefully integrated concept, including all constituent elements. 6 Similar to the beliefs of space power enthusiasts today, the ACTS community strongly believed that airpower, with its own technology, its own doctrine, and operating in its own medium could bring to warfare an awesome and perhaps decisive application of military might. 7 In the absence of resources (personnel and planes), the development of theory in support of early airpower was crucial to retaining institutional interest in the potential that airpower offered. The Beginnings of Space Power Theory Some would argue that space power has not suffered from the lack of a theoretical foundation. Space capabilities supported the strategic defense of our nation during the Cold War and were captured and institutionalized under the instruments of nuclear strategy and Cold War airpower theory. Space assets received a small percentage of the overall Department of Defense budget, but did so in the absence of space power theory. Given the context of the Cold War and the pace of technological change during that era, it is arguable whether or not space capabilities would have received stronger resource commitments had a separate space power theory been developed. 8 The bottom line is space assets received resource and technological commitment in the absence of a theory outlining the use of space for military operations. As space power advocates within U.S. Space Command and Air Force Space Command look to foster the continued growth of space power, the desire for a comprehensive space power theory has become paramount. 13

23 A theory for space power would contribute significantly to the development and expanded role envisioned for space power assets in future conflict, and to the interests of national security. The argument now centers on the content of space power theory. The Gulf War put space assets on display for the whole world to see, rather than concealing them under the cloak and dagger secrecy of the Cold War. Operating in a theater support role, rather than a purely strategic one, the space community provided evidence that space was an added dimension to warfare and worthy of consideration in terms of the newly recognized space power it rendered. Cold War space capabilities were certainly vital to America and her allies under the strategic nuclear mission, but the Gulf War demonstrated how reliant America had become on space power, and added emphasis to the need for continued development of space assets and capabilities. The type of theory that develops concerning space power, especially space control, will be a key factor in determining Air Force institutional commitment to the development and advancement of space power, and must be crafted carefully. Various visionaries have made attempts to quantify such a theory. 9 The underlying current driving any development of space power theory is the present interpretation of international space treaty implications against weaponizing space, and the current administration s policy against employing space for any other than peaceful means. 10 However, recent documented references to America s growing reliance on space, and its emergence as an economic center of gravity, by senior government and military officials, makes clear the underlying desire to employ space as a combatant arm. As Colonel Simon P. Pete Worden (USAF), Deputy Director for Battlespace Dominance (HQ AF/XORB), said, you can t perform space control from the ground

24 He implies the day is rapidly approaching when American space power will need to engage an enemy in, from, and through the space medium. The New World Vista s study confirms Colonel Worden s perspective. 12 America s reliance on space for military and economic advantage has left the door open for the eventual transition to a space combat mission as a means of ensuring space control. The National Defense Panel states, as the flag follows trade (space), our military will be expected to protect U.S. commercial interests, and, the U.S. cannot afford to lose the edge it now holds in military-related space operations. 13 While there is no accepted space power theory today after nearly forty years of using space in military operations, the United States Space Command has commissioned the development of a comprehensive space power theory to provide the theoretical foundation for the development of space policy and doctrine. 14 This document is to be completed by the end of The necessity for theory underpins all efforts at properly assimilating future applications of space power. As Major General (USAF, Ret.) William Jones, former Fourteenth Air Force Commander, states, the necessity for theory can not be overstated. All else will follow including doctrine. 15 The Difference During a period of decline in the military as an institution following World War I, early airpower advocates successfully developed a comprehensive airpower theory. This theory kept their vision for the potential of airpower alive and ultimately led to the development of airpower doctrine which, in turn, influenced training, organization and, once a viable threat to national security emerged, the commitment of resources. 15

25 Space power evolved under the nuclear deterrence strategy and Cold War airpower theory, receiving resource commitment commensurate with the level of importance relegated to space capabilities in meeting the Cold War threat. Following the Gulf War, in which space power became a catalyst across all military spectrums, the concept of developing a separate space power theory arose as a means of validating the need for an increased commitment in resources and support for the growing space power armada. Airpower theory drove increasing leadership support for the advancement of airpower while, conversely, leadership s support of space power appears to be driving the development for an acceptable space power theory. The lack of an agreed upon space power theory could undermine the Air Force s ability to develop the roadmap outlining how it intends to foster continued development of space power, to protect America s growing reliance and dependency on space power assets and capabilities. Notes 1 Major Dwight H. Griffin et al., Air Corps Tactical School: The Untold Story, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air Command and Staff College, May 1995, 9. 2 Giulio Douhet, The Command of the Air (Coward-McCann, Inc, New York: 1942), General William Mitchell, Winged Defense (Dover Publications, Inc., New York: 1925), Griffin, Douhet, Griffin, Ibid, Carl Builder, Icarus Syndrome (Transaction Publishers, New Brunswick, Conn., 1996), Builder, a distinguished RAND airpower expert, alludes to those same conclusions. He implies that early Air Force leaders neglected the independent roles that long-range missiles and space-based assets provided to the concept of airpower, the Air Force s sole reason for existence. Due to leadership s desire to push the advance of the airplane, the only proven form of airpower and the basis for existing theory and doctrine, the capabilities that space could offer to the advancement of airpower were sequestered under the supporting arm of nuclear strategy and policy. 9 Major Earl D. Matthews, U.S. Space Systems: A Critical Strength and Vulnerability, Naval War College, Newport, RI, 12 Feb 1996, 1. Matthews asserts that 16

26 Notes dependence on space systems is both a critical strength and vulnerability. During the Gulf War, space systems support provided the operational commander with two crucial ingredients to success that the enemy did not have; information and control. While space assets aided immeasurably to U.S. and coalition success via the information medium, it also acted as the key enabler for terrestrial munitions that relied on global positioning system navigational vectoring to strike their targets. Matthews suggests that just as we strike at the enemy s centers of gravity to maximize effect and gain advantage, it is undoubtedly certain that our next major conflict will find our space systems and capabilities the target of attack; Lieutenant Colonel Michael R. Mantz, The New Sword: A Theory of Space Combat Power, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL: Air University Press, May 1995, 2. Mantz examines the mission of space combat in lieu of the current operational space missions of space control and force application. He defines space combat as the hostile application of destructive or disruptive force into, through, within, or from space. This includes actions taken against space systems not in space. He incorporates three subordinate missions under the auspice of space combat, namely space denial, space strike, and space protection. Space denial is defined as the hostile application or destructive or disruptive force against enemy space systems to deny the enemy s use of the space medium. Space strike is the hostile application of destructive or disruptive force from space against natural-body-based (earth, moon, and asteroid) targets. Space protection is the active defensive application of destructive or disruptive force to defend friendly space systems. When examining Mantz s concepts for space combat, there is a clear relationship to the airpower theory developed by Mitchell. Space protection, the defense of friendly space systems, mirrors Mitchell s concept behind pursuit aircraft aimed at defending the bomber formations that constituted the backbone of the Army Air Corps. Space denial, or negating the enemy s use of the space medium, relates favorably to Mitchell s idea of attack aircraft which aimed at dispersion and destruction of the enemy s massed land armadas, denying them the opportunity to gain superiority of the land medium. Finally Mantz s space strike mission joins up well with Mitchell s bombardment concepts, especially if used as a means to project power against terrestrial-based targets as Arnold first envisioned; William B. Scott, Space Control Shifting to Space Superiority, Aviation Week and Space Technology 146, no. 10 (10 March 1997): Major McKinley, from Air Force Space Command s Long-Range Planning Division, supports this position stating, we need to think beyond spacecraft destruction. She proposes a campaign approach aimed at influencing, deterring, compelling and defeating an adversary s space capabilities and desires, through terrestrial means. McKinley feels that this approach correlates well with the number of satellites being used not by a single nation, but by a consortium of nations and international agencies. This makes it difficult, at best, to ascertain which satellite, owned by whom, is being used for hostile purposes, and what international implications await the U.S. should it choose to destroy the satellite. The military s responsibility to control space is not to control the medium, but rather to control the adversary s ability to exploit and derive benefit from the medium; 17

27 Notes Lieutenant Commander Thomas E. Nocenzo, You Can t Spell Space Control ASAT Anymore, Naval War College, Newport, RI, 6 March 1996, Nocenzo asserts there may be other means of negating an adversary s use of commercial or consortium-based surveillance and imagery satellites in future conflicts, especially for commanders of ground troops, dependent on maneuver warfare as a means to gain strategic and operational advantage. He sees commanders protecting their forces by capitalizing on gaps in satellite coverage, by relying on light, highly mobile forces to seize the initiative and create an operational tempo so fast that it negates the value of surveillance. 10 AU-18. Space Handbook: A Warfighter s Guide to Space, Maxwell Air Force Base, AL, vol. I, December 1993, Colonel Pete Worden, HQ USAF/XORB, to author, Air Command and Staff College, electronic mail, subject: How Leadership has Affected Space Technology, 2 December USAF Scientific Advisory Board, New World Vistas: Air and Space Power for the 21 st Century, [Attack volume]: 8. The Scientific Advisory Board discusses space operations of the new millenium in offensive, combatant terms. This includes refinement of the space control mission in which they envision satellites being used to inspect and/or neutralize enemy satellites at close range. They also present rationale aimed at circumventing existing treaty implications when they suggest, neutralization of enemy satellites would occur after a declaration of hostilities, with the result that certain spacecraft would be designated enemy, as opposed to friendly or commercial. The term enemy eases the problem in that response to actions considered hostile, are not constrained by treaty implications. This alleviates, in part, the barriers McKinley suggests regarding development of a combatant means of space control. 13 National Defense Panel Report, United States Space Command, All You Ever Wanted to Know About Theory Development, Flash, vol. 1, no. 4, July Major General William E. Jones (USAF Ret.). White Paper: Space in the USAF. Prepared for HQ USAF/XPX, 22 December 1997: 8. 18

28 Chapter 4 Doctrine If you do not know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere. Henry Kissinger Any Air Force that does not keep its doctrines ahead of its equipment, and its vision far into the future, can only delude the nation into a false sense of security. General Henry H. Hap Arnold, 1945 Sun Tzu, the noted classical military strategist, said, it is a doctrine of war not to assume the enemy will not come, but rather to rely on one s readiness to meet him; not to presume that he will not attack, but rather to make one s own self invincible. 1 How the Air Force chooses to assimilate space power into comprehensive and meaningful doctrine will determine its effectiveness at meeting future threats aimed at America s space dominance. Doctrine, based on theory, is the underlying linchpin that molds the military services into the roles they are chartered to perform. Joint Publication 1 defines military doctrine as a base of collective experiences that instill insight and wisdom for applying military technologies and capabilities as an instrument of national power. 2 The means to achieving political (strategic) ends has always underpinned military doctrine. But have military leaders lost the ability to think in strategic terms regarding the proper employment of military assets to ensure national security objectives are met? Carl Builder, a highly regarded member of RAND, makes a convincing argument that 19

29 strategic thinking has vanished in the military. He suggests the military discusses the art of strategic conceptualization only in historic terms and has lost the art to look beyond the operational and tactical applications of warfare. 3 The history of warfare, until recently, has been largely based on massed land armadas determined to secure a strategic choke point, or stronghold, as a means to achieving victory. With the advent of airpower, and now space power, the dogma associated with protracted assault-type warfare has been admonished, largely because of the speed and flexibility that air and space forces bring to the fight. Builder suggests the first step in developing doctrine is in strategic thinking, and that doctrine drives the acquisition and resource process aimed at fostering the initial concepts developed through the strategic thinking process. 4 In Pursuit of Airpower Doctrine General Billy Mitchell felt similarly frustrated by the War Department s ineffective approach to developing airpower doctrine following World War I. He wrote, Each year the leading countries of the world are recognizing the value of air power more and more. All of the great nations, except the United States, have adopted a definite air doctrine as distinguished from their sea doctrine and their land doctrine. 5 On January 26, 1926, the War Department published Training Regulation No , Fundamental Principles for the Employment of the Air Service. This initial attempt at quantifying airpower doctrine could have severely limited the potential of airpower by stating, the organization and training of all air units is based on the fundamental doctrine that their mission is to aid the ground forces to gain decisive success. 6 But airpower advocates continued to push the envelope past conventional wisdom of their day in order to fulfill the destiny envisioned for airpower. In the absence of resources, early airpower advocates had no choice but to 20

30 continue promoting the potential for airpower, through testing newly developed theories and doctrinal concepts with old airframes, until technology and funding became available to turn vision into reality. How to Develop Doctrine Before determining whether or not current leadership is willing to push the envelope for advancement and indoctrination of space power into a cohesive doctrinal application, this study will examine one expert s opinion on how to institutionalize change and effect the development of new doctrine. General Donn Starry, former commander of the Army s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), presents several factors he feels are needed before new doctrinal concepts can be incorporated into the military mindset and mainstream of operations. 7 There must be an institution or mechanism to identify the need for change The educational background of the staff must be rigorous and relevant There must be a spokesman for change The spokesman must build a consensus There must be continuity among the architects of change so that consistency of effort is brought to bear on the process Someone at or near the top must be willing to hear arguments for change, agree to the need, embrace the new concepts and become at least a supporter, if not a champion, of the cause for change Changes proposed must be subjected to trials Has the Air Force met the intent of General Starry s outline in reference to the development of space power doctrine? First, top-level documents such as the National Security Strategy, National Military Strategy, Joint Vision 2010, Global Engagement, Quadrennial Defense Review, and the National Defense Panel Review have all identified the need to strengthen America s ability to control the space medium. Second, one must assume that as America moves to strengthen national resolve in 21